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Rory Carroll

Rory Carroll (born 1972) is an Irish journalist working for The Guardian who has reported from, among other locations, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq and Latin America. He is currently based in Los Angeles as US West Coast correspondent for The Guardian. His book on Hugo Chávez, Comandante, was published in March 2013.


  • Early life and career 1
  • Africa correspondent 2
  • Iraq correspondent 3
  • Latin America correspondent 4
  • US West Coast correspondent 5
  • Book on Hugo Chávez 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life and career

Born in Dublin, Carroll is a graduate of Blackrock College, Trinity College and Dublin City University. He began his career at The Irish News in Belfast, working as a reporter and diarist from 1995 to 1997, when he was named young journalist of the year in Northern Ireland's media awards.[1]

He moved to London to work as a researcher on two Channel 4 documentaries, Getting Away with Murder and The Devil Amongst Us. In November 1997 he joined The Guardian as a reporter, covering stories in Britain and returning to Northern Ireland to cover the peace talks. From 1999, he was deployed as a foreign correspondent in Yemen.[2] and Serbia for the aftermath of the Kosovo war.[3]

In late 1999 he was posted to Rome as Southern Europe correspondent for The Guardian, where he wrote on topics such as The Vatican, Silvio Berlusconi, Macedonia, immigration and human trafficking from northern Africa, and the Middle East. After 9/11 he reported from Pakistan and Afghanistan. His report from Qalaye Niazi,[4] where a wedding party was bombed by US planes, fuelled criticism of the Pentagon's air campaign.[5] He broke the news about the UK's first overseas combat deployment since the first Gulf War.[6]

Africa correspondent

In 2002 Carroll was posted to Johannesburg as Africa correspondent for The Guardian. He wrote about the massive problems facing Zimbabwe and South Africa, as well as the continent's food and public health problems. His interview with a Liberian female rebel commander (nicknamed "Black Diamond"),[7] prompted Hollywood interest in making a film about her life, but it has not materialised. His article about rape in Congo[8] provided the introduction to an essay by Cherie Blair for a Human Rights Watch volume on torture.[9]

Carroll's article about Hamilton Naki that appeared in The Guardian in 2003[10] was cited by The New York Times as the original source of their erroneous reporting in 2005[11] about the role Hamilton Naki played when the first heart transplant was performed at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa in 1967.

Iraq correspondent

Carroll took over The Guardian's Baghdad bureau in January 2005. He covered the US occupation,[12] suicide bombings, the formation of Iraqi military and police units, growing sectarian tension,[13] and the death of several friends, including Marla Ruzicka.[14]

On 19 October 2005 he was abducted in Baghdad after carrying out an interview with a victim of Saddam Hussein's regime in Sadr City. The interview had been arranged with the assistance of the Baghdad office of Moqtada al-Sadr. The kidnapping resulted in the Irish government deploying the Army Ranger Wing special forces unit and Arabic-speaking intelligence officers from G2. Carroll was released unharmed by his captors a day later after the British, Irish and Iranian governments, among others, lobbied for his release.[15] The Guardian published Carroll's account of the kidnapping soon after.[16]

Latin America correspondent

In April 2006 he was appointed The Guardian's Latin America correspondent, based in the newspaper's Caracas bureau.[17] His report about oil exploration in Peru's Amazon[18] was disputed by the oil company Perenco.[19] A series he wrote in 2010 on Mexico's drug war[20] was longlisted for the Orwell prize.[21] An article about aid tourists in Haiti stirred debate in the aid community over whether well-meaning amateurs should visit disaster zones.[22] Carroll's reporting from Caracas was criticised by Red Pepper in 2008 for what was judged to be a trend of misrepresentation of the Venezuelan reality and its leader, Hugo Chávez. Carroll also said that he is "not a champion of impartiality", but he says he is open-minded: "I see a government that is doing some good things and some bad things ".[23]

"I try to give a sense of how bizarre and funny some things are,"..."like when Chávez, on his own [weekly] TV show, Aló Presidente, ordered the mobilisation of 9,000 soldiers and tanks to the Colombian border. On the one hand that's a serious story, but there is bombast too ... mobilisation on that scale never happened."[24]

On 3 July 2011, The Observer published an article by Carroll featuring an interview with Noam Chomsky concerning the detention of Maria Lourdes Afiuni, an arrested Venezuelan judge, in which Chomsky criticised the government of Hugo Chávez.[25] Chomsky commented in an email exchange with the Znet blogger Joe Emersberger that the report was "deceptive" because of the omission of his comparison of the case of Bradley Manning with the arrested Venezuelan judge, among other points, and rejected the assertion that Venezuela was less democratic than before Chávez took office: "I don’t think so, and never suggested it."[26] The article did in fact cite Chomsky mentioning the Manning case. Chomsky made no direct complaint to The Observer. The newspaper reproduced the entire transcript of Carroll's exchange with Chomsky the following day on its website.[27] Chomsky said the transcript appeared accurate. The Observer's reader's editor, Stephen Pritchard, investigated complaints on Chomsky's behalf and found that there was no case to answer with the exception of the headline, which was too strong. It was subsequently amended.

In an article published in March 2013, shortly after Chávez died, Carroll said that the former Venezuelan President left an "ambiguous legacy of triumph, ruin and uncertainty".[28] "Whither his '21st-century socialist revolution', a unique experiment in power fuelled by charisma and bountiful oil revenues?"[28]

US West Coast correspondent

In April 2012 The Guardian posted Carroll to Los Angeles to cover the western and southern US. Carroll's interview with Rodney King, published at the beginning of May 2012,[29] on the 20th anniversary of the LA riots was one of the last before King died.

Book on Hugo Chávez

Comandante was published on 7 March 2013—two days after the announcement of Chávez's death—by Penguin Press in the US and by Canongate in the UK. Translations are underway for editions in Brazil, China, Mexico, Spain, Italy, Estonia and Poland. It was named by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the 25 books to read in 2013.[30]

John Sweeney in The Literary Review called the book "a well-considered and painfully fair epitaph" but said it was encumbered with respect for chavistas' aspirations.[31]


  1. ^ "Guardian reporter missing in Iraq". 19 October 2005. Retrieved 7 August 2012. A graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, Rory Carroll started his career at the  
  2. ^ Carroll, Rory; Ian Black (27 January 1999). "Three more Britons held in Yemen". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  3. ^ Carroll, Rory (24 June 1999). "Church admits truth about atrocities". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  4. ^ Carroll, Rory (6 January 2002). "Bloody evidence of US blunder". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  5. ^ Engelhardt, Tom (14 July 2008). "The Wedding Crashers: U.S. Jets Have Bombed Five Ceremonies in Afghanistan". Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  6. ^ Carroll, Rory (8 April 2002). "Perilous fight against shadowy enemy". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  7. ^ Carroll, Rory (24 August 2003). "Everyone's afraid of her". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  8. ^ Carroll, Rory (30 January 2005). "Eight years of darkness". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  9. ^ "Torture – A Human Rights Perspective". Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  10. ^ Carroll, Rory (25 April 2003). "Two men transplanted the first human heart. One ended up rich and famous – the other had to pretend to be a gardener. Until now". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 25 April 2003. Retrieved 14 October 2011. The donor was Denise Darvall, a 25-year-old who stopped to buy a cake, was hit by a car and was pronounced brain dead by the doctors. With the permission of her father, 60 seconds after the respirator was turned off, a team led by Naki went to work, a 48-hour marathon. 
  11. ^ Wines, Michael (27 August 2005). "Accounts of South African's Career Now Seen as Overstated". New York Times. Retrieved 14 October 2011. But reports that he was an actual heart transplant surgeon appear to have emerged more recently, most prominently in a 2003 article in The Guardian. That article stated flatly that in December 1967, "a team led by Mr. Naki went to work, a 48-hour marathon" to remove the heart from the donor, an auto accident victim, for transplantation into Mr. Washkansky. 
  12. ^ Carroll, Rory (27 June 2005). "Fear and pride in hunt for weapons of moderate destruction". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  13. ^ Carroll, Rory (24 April 2005). "Mystery of Iraq's alleged oasis of death". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  14. ^ "Bubbles of Kabul". The Guardian. 19 April 2005. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  15. ^ "Abducted Guardian journalist is freed". The Guardian. 20 October 2005. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  16. ^ Carroll, Rory (21 October 2005). "Gunmen surrounded us, firing into the windscreen. The dreaded moment had arrived: kidnap". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  17. ^ "Guardian in shakeup of foreign desk", The Guardian, 12 April 2006
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ Samuel Grove "Carroll in wonderland: how the Guardian misrepresents Venezuela", Red Pepper, 16 September 2008
  24. ^ Siobhain Butterworth "Open Door: The readers' editor on ... alternatives to impartiality", The Guardian, 7 April 2008. Carroll is only identified as the newspaper's "Latin America correspondent" in this article.
  25. ^ Rory Carroll "Noam Chomsky denounces old friend Hugo Chávez for 'assault' on democracy", The Observer, 3 July 2011
  26. ^ Joe Emersberger "Chomsky Says UK Guardian Article 'Quite Deceptive' About his Chavez Criticism", Znet, 4 July 2011
  27. ^ Rory Carroll and Noam Chomsky "Noam Chomsky on Venezuela – the transcript", The Guardian (website), 4 July 2011
  28. ^ a b Rory Carroll "Hugo Chávez: poor boy from the plains who became leftwing figurehead", The Guardian, 5 March 2013
  29. ^ Carroll, Rory (1 May 2012). "'"Rodney King: 'I had to learn to forgive. The Guardian. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  30. ^ Slattery, Margarett (31 December 2012). "What to Read in 2013". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  31. ^ Sweeney, John (March 2013). "Hello, Mr President". Literary Review (407). Retrieved 17 March 2013. 

External links

  • Rory Carroll's website.
  • Articles by Rory Carroll in The Guardian
  • "Guardian journalist abducted in Baghdad" from The Guardian.
  • News of Carroll release from RTÉ.
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